Spain: May 1544, 16-20

Pages 159-167

Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 7, 1544. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1899.

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May 1544, 16–20

17 May. 96. Eustace Chapuys to the Emperor.
Wien, Imp. Arch. “Sire,”—On the 2nd inst. Your Majesty's letters of the 30th of April and 5th inst. came to hand, and the day after, as I could not see and speak to the King, owing to his having taken some medicine in the shape of pills (pillules), I communicated to the Privy Council the contents of Your Majesty's letters to me, immediately after which, and previous to the report by the councillors, I received the following answer in his name.
In the first place, that already in captain Siquinghen's business, he (the King) had, in view of my observations and representations, shown his satisfaction and contentment; he was now more pleased than ever to hear that Your Majesty has approved of the terms, and complimented him on the bargain he has made, and offers to assist and favour that captain and any others in the enlistment of men, and so forth.
With regard to the progress of the two invading armies, after my representing to the privy councillors the many advantages that might result for Your Majesty, as well as for the King, their master, by defeating the plans that king Francis may have formed in favour of the Scots, or for the invasion of this kingdom, after a long debate with the privy councillors on the expediency and facility of the proposed advance, and after my having removed all their scruples, I was told, in the King's name, that he desires no less than Your Majesty to hasten the invasion of France, and thinks of nothing else day and night; so much so, that he is taking care that his own army crosses the Channel and takes the field as soon as time and the means of conveyance may permit (fn. 1) This desire of the King the privy councillors backed and confirmed, the secretary of the Council, through whom I had repeated my application, having this very morning sent me word that the King, since I called on him, has sent messengers to the most remote parts of the kingdom to hasten the march of his forces, and written to the count Darfort (Hertford) to come back from Scotland as soon as possible, and when in England, and in a place where he may not want all this force under his command, to detach 3,000 of them and send them to Calais to reinforce his vanguard there. (fn. 2) He (the King) has likewise hastened the storing of victuals and provisions of all kinds for the men and horses that it will be convenient to keep between this city and Dover, and should the hulks and transports of Flanders soon make their appearance (of which, however, not one has yet been seen in the ports of England), I have no doubt that the whole force will cross over to Calais sooner than the date promised to Monsr. de Chantonnay. (fn. 3) Meanwhile, I shall not desist from my application. As to this King's ambassador in Flanders assuring the queen of Hungary that by the 15th instant the English vanguard would be at Dover ready to embark, there is no truth in the assertion. If he said so, it was merely for the purpose of hastening the fitting out and sailing of the hulks, (fn. 4) for certainly before their arrival in port the men they are to transport across the Channel will not move from the place whereat they are now quartered, for fear of increasing the price of victuals wherever they may go.
As to Mdme. Daiguemont, and others who happen to possess property and lands in France, (fn. 5) this King has sent an answer to this effect, that he has issued express commands for his men not to do harm to and waste the lands of Your Majesty's subjects, or do anything else likely to injure Your reputation or his. Your Majesty knows too well the natural condition of soldiers, and their propensity to commit disorderly acts in time of war, and yet he (the King) will certainly do everything in his power to prevent such acts, and has written to the commanders accordingly.
With respect to the late news from Scotland, I beg leave to refer Your Majesty to the enclosed note.—London, 17 May 1544.
Signed: “Eustace Chapuys.”
Addressed: “To the Emperor.''
Indorsed: “From the ambassador in England, the 17th of May. Received at Speier the 20th of May 1544.”
French. Original, partly ciphered. 2½ pp.
17 May. 97. The Same to the Queen of Hungary.
Wien, Imp. Arch. “Madame,”—Last Monday Your Majesty's letter of the 8th inst. came to hand, and on the ensuing day I informed these privy councillors of its contents. As to the declaration against the Scots, Your Majesty cannot imagine how glad the King was to read it, and how warmly he requested me to thank Your Majesty and all those who have had a hand in it. Indeed, I do not hesitate to say that Your Majesty has done a singularly good Work towards winning the heart and affection of this King, by despatching a business of that kind without further delay. Had it been otherwise, great injury might have been done to the Emperor's affairs in general.
The King has taken in very good part the news I communicated to him of the manner in which Your Majesty treated the bearer of the Admiral of France's letter. He has been still more pleased at hearing that Your Majesty desires to know his opinion on the contents of that letter before it is answered. He says that Your Majesty may act towards the French as you please, but that at first sight, and without long consideration, his opinion is that it would be very convenient for us and very annoying to the French if the truce they are soliciting for the express purpose of fishing was refused to them. (fn. 6) The Emperor's army and his own are now so powerful in the field, that the subjects of both Majesties will be able to fish without danger wherever they like, whereas the French themselves will not dare go far from their coast. Such, the King tells me, is his opinion of the affair, subject, however, as I said above, to Your Majesty's pleasure.
Respecting Octavian Bos, the privy councillors have sent him to this Embassy to be cross-examined by me. I have questioned him at length on all matters concerning the treason of which he is accused; but as it would be too long and too prolix for me to enter into details, I will only say that since he left Lyons to return to Milan, about three years ago, he never revisited France; and that for the last sixteen months, which he passed in that country, he did not make the acquaintance of one single man of importance and rank in France (parmie les grans de France). That he had never in his life spoken to Monsr. de Vendôme, and though he had occasionally seen him when he, himself, was a page of Gallia Visconte, (fn. 7) he would not, if he saw him now, recognize him. That during the whole of October last he had been either at the camp before Landressy or at Valenciennes, and that after the retreat of the Imperial army he had gone straight to Anvers (Antwerp), whence he had twice returned to the Cambresis, taking with him La Chapelle, who was at Anvers without any employment or professional occupation. That his acquaintance with the said La Chapelle began at Milan, where he first saw him serving in the band of one of the lords Des Meynes. (fn. 8)
Octavian further affirms that he had no knowledge whatever of the arrest and imprisonment of La Chapelle until he himself arrived at Calais, where he first heard of it. Having questioned him how it was that after La Chapelle's arrest he, himself, had not returned to Lyons, where he formerly had a mercantile occupation, instead of going to Flanders, he answered that as it was then forbidden to export armour from France he preferred going to Flanders rather than to his native place, Milan.
The above is the result of Octavian's examination. I have also cross-questioned his secretary, a native of Dynant (Dinan), who confirms his master's statement respecting his staying at the camps of Landresy and at Valenciennes during the month of October. It would be advisable to examine, as soon as possible, others of Octavian's servants who remained behind at Antwerp, in order to see if their testimony agrees with the former declaration, for these privy councillors are urging me beyond measure to procure full evidence on the subject of Octavian's treasonable doings (mesfaits), anxious, as they say they are, to decide at once whether he is to be set free or remain in prison. May it please Your Majesty to have the affair looked into, and more witnesses examined, for as the said Octavian is much in favour with many English gentlemen who served lately in the aforesaid camp [of Landresy], it is to be apprehended that, unless more proofs of his supposed guilt be immediately produced, these people will at once set him at liberty.
With regard to Monsr. de Saint Martin and his overtures, the privy councillors have approved of Your Majesty's views of the affair. They find the advice extremely good, and intend following it, principally as they know well that Frenchmen are more artful and cunning than they themselves in affairs of this sort, and are constantly in the habit of sending forth their agents with (fn. 9) bait in order to make their profit thereby. The privy councillors, however, say that they will take more care in future.
The remainder of the news from this country Your Majesty will learn from my letter to the Emperor.
Signed: “Eustace Chapuys.”
Addressed: “To the Queen.”
French. Original. 3 pp.
17 May. 98. Eustace Chapuys to the Queen of Hungary.
Wien, Imp. Arch. “Madame,”—Just at this moment two privy councillors, sent by the King, have come to this embassy to announce, in this King's name, that his principal secretary, Master Paget, is going on a mission to the Emperor for the purpose of reciprocally visiting and informing him of the good turn the affairs of Scotland are taking, and at the same time giving an account of the preparations that are being made for the undertaking against France. These two, I am told, are the only objects of that secretary's diplomatic mission; and yet I have considered it my duty not to let this courier depart without advising his appointment to the said mission. Indeed, nothing could be more favourable under present circumstances than the nomination of Master Paget, for being, as he is, a person of parts, and enjoying good credit with the King, his master, he has always shown great inclination for the Emperor's service, and cannot behave otherwise than well.—London, 17 May 1544.
Signed: “Eustace Chapuys.”
French. Original. 1 p.
18 May. 99. The Same to the Emperor.
Wien, Imp. Arch. “Sire,”—The King has sent me a message through two of his privy councillors to the effect that he has resolved to despatch towards Your Majesty his first secretary, present bearer, for the purpose of reciprocally visiting and informing Your Majesty of the late events in Scotland, as well as of the preparations now being made for the future undertaking against France, storing of provisions for his army, and so forth.
To-day the King has sent me his secretary (Paget) to show me the letter he has received from the king of France, and a copy besides of the answer he himself has made to it. (fn. 10) The originals of both that secretary is to take to Your Majesty for personal inspection, and therefore I need not make any observations of my own, but merely refer to them.
However, it seems to me, as Your Majesty will be more able to judge and understand from the Secretary's words, that no greater activity can be displayed in hastening the preparations for the undertaking against France than that which is actually taking place here; though, to say the truth, the more I look about me, the more I doubt things being ready as soon as Your Majesty desires and expects and the occasion requires. However, if there be delay, the cause, in my opinion, will be the King's affectionate desire and inclination—nay, obstinate resolution—to personally attend the expedition; for in order to insure safety, it is fit and necessary to provide so many things, that it will be impossible, I fear, to get ready in a short time. Indeed, I venture to say that the King will be acting imprudently if he persists in his determination of crossing the Channel and taking the command of his army; for however stout-hearted he may be, his age, his obesity and weight, and the state of his legs are such that those who have seen him of late wonder how it is that he does not keep his bed, and think that he will not be able to stand any fatigue without actual danger to his life. And yet no one here dares remonstrate with him about that or dissuade him from the resolution he has taken. There can be no doubt that his presence in the field will be of great use, if he can only recover the use of his limbs; but, on the other hand, in his present condition his voyage is fraught with danger, and may turn out a serious inconvenience for Your Majesty's plans of campaign. This Your Majesty will perceive much better than I myself can. For this reason, and others which for the last few days I have been turning over in my mind, it seems as if it would be a good and notable work to look out for the means of persuading the King to hasten his voyage to Calais, and remain there during the war, which plan would be more commodious and advantageous for Your Majesty's affairs.—London, 18 May 1544.
Signed: “Eustace Chapuys.”
Addressed: “To the Emperor.”
Indorsed: “From the ambassador in England, on the 18th of May 1544. Received at Spiere, the 16th.”
18 May. 100. Eustace Chapuys to the Queen of Hungary.
Wien, Imp. Arch. “Madame,”—I yesterday informed Your Majesty of this King's determination to despatch his first secretary, Master Paget, to the Emperor, and this very afternoon he has sent him to me to communicate the purpose of his mission, which, besides having the two objects specified in my last, is to communicate to His Imperial Majesty the contents of a letter written to him by king Francis from Saint Germain on the 9th inst., as well as the answer which he himself has returned to the said letter. Its purport in substance is as follows:— “That he (king Francis) never could imagine or think that there would be a breaking off of their mutual friendship, causing hostilities to ensue in the Boulonnois and the surrounding districts, the capture of vessels in the Channel, and other warlike operations. He was the more surprised at it because, in the letter he had written to him some time before, he (king Francis) had in vain proposed means of conciliation, peace, and confederacy. It seemed to him (the King observed) as if the king of France were only looking for the means of engendering jealousy between him and the Emperor; but that he is out of his reckoning, for the friendship of the allies is inviolable, and king Francis would do well in future to depart from such a line of conduct, and such indirect and out-of-the-way dealings. If he really wished to enter into ways of peace, he had better, before all things, renounce the Turk's as well as the Scots' alliance, pay his debt, and compensate the Emperor for his expenses.”
In the end of the letter, as a contre coup for the news of Piedmont, which king Francis gave him, the King included a paragraph referring to the state of his affairs in Scotland.
As secretary Paget was in great haste to depart, I could not obtain a copy of king Francis' letter, nor of this King's answer to it; but there is no necessity for that, for I suppose that the Emperor will not fail to see it. The Secretary, as I pointed out in yesterday's letter, goes also for the purpose of informing the Emperor of the preparations here made for the future undertaking against France—such as the storage of provisions, arms, ammunition, and so forth. The King persists in his determination to cross the Channel in person. There can be no doubt that this will greatly benefit the enterprise should he be able to bear the fatigue of the journey; but it is quite certain that if he perseveres in his purpose, affairs will be delayed much longer than we can foresee; besides which, there is evident danger for his Royal person, for in addition to his age, which is considerable, he is so weak on his legs that he can hardly stand, and if after the long stay at home he ventures upon so fatiguing and trying a work as war is, there is danger for his life. All those who surround him have tried, though in vain, to dissuade him from his purpose, and I see no other chance than that of the Emperor making some excuse or other, and not placing himself at the head of his own army, for otherwise this King is sure to consider it a point of honour to do what the Emperor does. But to say the truth, and speaking under correction, it seems to me that whoever could find plausible excuses for both princes, the Emperor and the King, remaining behind, and not exposing themselves to the perils of war, would achieve a highly meritorious work. I beg and entreat Your Majesty not to attribute this prayer of mine to presumption or temerity, but to my zeal for the Emperor's service, for the two Majesties might, all the time the war lasted, be somewhere on the frontiers of the common enemy, whence they could annoy and surprise him as much as if they were at the head of their respective armies. Should this advice and prayer of mine meet with Your Majesty's approval, this last paragraph of my letter might be copied for the Emperor's inspection, but I beg Your Majesty not to mention to secretary Paget any part of it, but, on the contrary, thank him for the good offices which he has continually been rendering in all matters concerning the Emperor and his subjects.—London, 18 May 1544.
Signed: “Eustace Chapuys.”
French. Original. 3 pp.
18 May. 101. King Henry to the Emperor.
Wien, Imp. Arch. Sends him his councillor, Messire Guillaume Paget (sir William) to communicate certain views of his own respecting the advancement of their common affairs. Begs the Emperor to give him (Paget) audience, and attach faith to whatever he may say, as if he himself were talking to him. Paget, moreover, is to inquire what the Emperor's opinion is as to Henry's proposals, and bring him back an answer.—Westminster Palace, the 18th of May 1544.
Signed: “Henry.”
French. Original. 1 p.
18 May. 102. The Same to the Queen of Hungary.
Wien, Imp. Arch. Profiting by Paget's departure on a mission to the Emperor, king Henry has ordered him to call first at Brussels on his way to the Imperial Court. (fn. 11) Paget is to visit queen Mary in his name, and at the same time that he informs her of late news in England, thank her warmly for her kind help and assistance in forwarding [to Calais] provisions for his army.—Westminster Palace, 18 May [1544].
Signed: “Henry.”
French. Original. 1 p.
18 May. 103. The Same to Mgr. de Granvelle.
Wien, Imp. Arch. Has sent Paget to the Emperor on matters of importance. Begs Granvelle to help and assist him in the execution of his mission, and do his best for him to get a quick and favourable answer.—Westminster Palace, 18 May 1544.
Signed: “Henry.”
French. Original. 1 p.


  • 1. “Me feist respondu de la part de dict sr roy quil no desiroit moins haster la dicte emprinse que v[ost]re mate et que ny jour ny nuict il n'a pensoit a aultre chose, et quil auroit tout le soing possible de faire passer [ses gens] si avant que le moyen et la facillite se pourra adonner, et le mesme massurarent (sic) les diets du Conseil de leur part.”
  • 2. “Et a escript au conte Darfort de se haster à son retour d'Escosse, et desquil sera en lieu dont nait (n'aie) besoing de tous les gens quil meyne quil en face (fasse) embarquer trois mille, et les envoye à Calais pour le renforcement de lavantgarde.”
  • 3. “Et ne tiendra que à larrivee des hurz de flandres (dont il ny a encoires piece de venue) quilz ne partent plustot que ne fust respondu à Monsr. de Chantonnay.”
  • 4. “Et la deu dire seullement pour faire haster les dictes hurs.” Hurt seems a corruption of “hulk“; in Spanish, hurca.
  • 5. “Quant à laffaire de Mmt daiguemont (Aigremont?) et aultres ayans leurs biens aux frontières sur les pays de France, le diet sr roy me feist respondre quil avoit pour expressement commande à ses gens de guerre de non les endommaiger si avant que celane redonde au deservice de v[ost]re. mate et sienne.”
  • 6. “Mais encore plus de ce que v[ost]re. mate entendroit (â l'endroit ?) du contenu des dictes lectres a bien voulu avoir son advis et consentement prealablement que d'en faire la reponse, et dict le s'roy que v[ost]re. mate en pourra user comme mieulx luy semblera et que pour ceste heure, sans avoir pensé fort avant en l'affaire, il lui sembleroit que ce seroit grand commodité et dommaige aux françois [de] leur refuser la tresve pecheresse quilz demandeut.”
  • 7. Galeas or Galeazzo Visconti, descended from one of the dukes of Milan of that family.
  • 8. “Du temps que le dit de La Chapelle estoit de la bande [d'ung] des seignours Des Meynes.”
  • 9. “Congnisant (cognoissant) tres bien que les franchoys sont plus fins et plus subtilz qu'eulx en telz affaires, et qu'ilz envoyent semblables l'avec quelque petite ammone pour faire leur grant prouffit.”
  • 10. No. 98, p,:163.
  • 11. On the 18th of May the Emperor was at Spire; he left on the 10th of June.